People take up a martial art like taekwondo for a variety of reasons. Some love it for the exercise, the social engagement and sense of community you get with joining a local club. Others know they want to take their training seriously and have a commitment to achieving their black belt from the day they start training.
A few want to genuinely master the art of taekwondo and maybe even teach it to others.
There are different governing bodies for taekwondo and the route to becoming a master can vary slightly between them. When looking at how long it takes to become a master, however, the first place to start is with the award of different coloured belts.
What are taekwondo belts?
Beginners begin wearing a white belt and must pass a test before they progress. The next level up is a white belt with yellow stripes and then, after a further test, a yellow belt. It progresses like this through different colours from green to blue to red and then black.
Each belt has ranks associated with, none more so than when you reach the black belt standard. There are nine levels here, called 1st, 2nd, 3rd dan up to 9th dan. When you reach the 6th to 7th dan you are generally considered a master instructor. When you reach the 9th dan you are rightly called a grandmaster.
How long does it take to become a black belt in taekwondo?
If you are a dedicated student and practice very hard, it’s possible to become a black belt in taekwondo within 3 to 5 years. A lot depends on your ability and the type of lessons and mentoring you have access to. At some point, if you want to be a black belt, you will need face to face training that demands more from you than simply getting fit – you’ll discover new levels of courage, confidence and indomitable spirit than you knew you had.
Becoming a master, however, is a different thing altogether.
First of all, different organisations allow the title of master at different levels but it’s usually between 5th and 7th dan. The time training between awards can also vary – for example, one organisation may allow just a year or two between second and third dan, while further along it may be three to five years before an individual is ready to take the test.
It could take as long as 20+ years to reach the master level which is why you need a lot of commitment and drive to keep training and progressing. For people who have reached black belt master status, taekwondo is a way of life rather than simply a sport to practice.
How long does it take to become a grandmaster?
There are few taekwondo grandmasters as you might expect. It can take on average 30 years to become a grandmaster and for most, it is much longer. This is a position of great honour and there is more to it than simply learning the right moves. A grandmaster is also spiritual and can teach others to a higher level than a master.
You won’t be surprised that many of the taekwondo grandmasters live in Korea. There are thought to be no more than 300 grandmasters in the world today, spread through different associations.
At your local taekwondo class in Brisbane, classes are delivered by instructors at all levels, from 1st dan to 4th dan. As you progress to black belt level, however, you will begin to get input from a master instructor and even a grandmaster.
If you are just beginning to learn taekwondo, earning a black belt and becoming a master may seem a long way off. Like most martial arts, however, taekwondo is not just a sport but a philosophy as well. The more you progress, the more it becomes a part of you and influences all aspects of your life.
If you would like to try out taekwondo, join a beginner’s class today.
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